This week, Adobe announced and posted a Flash player that included H264 decoding, essentially adding a new video codec for playback. Flash 6 was the first video codec with Sorenson Spark. With Flash 8, we added the much improved on2 VP6 codec. In the meantime, H264 has grown in adoption and it seemed to make sense to add an open codec to the Flash platform.
So, if you’re interested in giving it a test drive, mosey on over to Adobe’s Lab website labs.adobe.com
As an aside, the thing that flabbergasted me was how quickly all of our customers knew about this! The independent artist that attended last night’s AENY meeting as well as the large NYC broadcasters and everything in between. I guess 98% market penetration has that affect on people!
Or…"What people don’t know"
This week, I got a chance to visit some fabulous broadcast clients and while I’ve got some thoughts that I’d like to share soon, the one that struck me the most is how many times incredibly talented people asked for features that already existed or didn’t know about some keyboard shortcuts that would immediately help them.
Does this mean that these people aren’t incredibly talented, intelligent and the like? Of course not! In fact, again and again we were all amazed at the quality and imagination that these artists do with our products. We’re the pastels and they’re wielding Adobe…I tipped my hat to many of them and wished I had their ability… sigh…
Still, it was interesting to learn that even what I would call the expert user can be so used to doing things a certain way that he/she is surprised and elated when they learn a better way.
So, with that in mind here are two of the common ones that some people ‘rediscovered’ this past week.
In After Effects, with your mouse over a panel, if you hit the tilde key "~" it will make that panel take up the whole interface. This is now true of Premiere Pro, Encore and Soundbooth as well. This is a powerful key, but especially for After Effects users trying to navigate amongst many layers.
Actions – Use ‘em! One of the top features requested by some of the clients we visited was chiefly concerned with an easy way to create an alpha channel for compositing in other programs including After Effects. We still have work to do to make this as absolutely simple as possible, but this person wasn’t aware of the common video actions folder that can be loaded into the actions palette.
What does this mean to Adobe? Well, for me it says two things: First that Adobe has several very mature products with new users learning these programs. They’re missing out on what ‘old hands’ learned through the years. Another way to describe this is that Photoshop has over 500 menu items and it’s a given that people aren’t going to know all 500 of these items!
The other point is something I heard from someone who stated that we need to be making it easier on how to find the best way to do something through our various help items. As I am want to say, this had the ring of truth to it and I look forward to seeing how we can get you the information you need (contextually) as quickly as possible. The good news is that we’re thinking about this so it will be interesting to see what happens to software in the future.
On that same note, let me mention about the new Bridge Home that is a part of Bridge CS3. If you haven’t checked it out, you should since it can really help you now in learning how to do certain things. Click on your favorite product icon on the top and the interface will display a lot of the resources available from Adobe and other sources.
Nothing like a little last minute promotion for an eSeminar coming up.
Fact is, I’ve updated the hard drive in my laptop and slowly have been putting everything back together and today I finally reconnected my blog to Contribute CS3. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do as it relates to blogging, but in the meantime, I wanted to offer you a chance to join me in an eSeminar that will happen in just a few hours. It’s all about new features in After Effects and boy, there are a ton of them in this pariticular release, so we’ll be busy for the full hour.
If you’re interested in registering for the seminar, please click here: eSeminar: After Effects CS3 – what’s new!
If you miss it (and you won’t I hope!), it will be recorded for future viewing as an onDemand presentation.
See you there,
If you’re into Photoshop (and from my perspective, who isn’t?), then you should consider going some time to a Photoshop World. It’s a show for Photoshop freaks and geeks and I’ll say it’s a lot of fun. The one coming up is in Las Vegas and happens from 9/6-8. If that’s a bit far for you, they usually have one on the East Coast every year as well.
As a person who likes to play with Photoshop, I still walk away amazed at some of the stuff I learn each time I go. I’ll be there again this year (working) and hopefully will get to meet a few of you.
Tip – If you’re looking for a way to find out about new Adobe blog content, but find putting the RSS feed in your bookmarks a bit clumsy (it is SO 2006 then take a look at iGoogle as a home page. Essentially, you can put up whatever kind of information you want, organize it, etc. It’s really nice, fast and easy. I’ve got my Adobe tab on iGoogle, how about you?
Personal note – I’m in Vegas now and hope to spend a day trying desperately to take some good photos of Zion National Park. It’s near the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon, so you probably already have an idea of the possibilities for pictures…Wish me luck as a hobbyist photographer – I don’t want to show the Photoshop World people totally lame pictures!
This (for me at least) was a rather larger project for me to post than most of the others. I might even categorize it as ‘intermediate.’ Anyway, I have had the project done for a while, but haven’t had time to type up an outline on how to recreate it.
I will post the files and an outline here in the future, but in the meantime, here is an example of how you can use After Effects to sail through the Solar System. I also used Audition to build the soundtrack with some help from my friends at Digital Juice with their Sound FX library. Enjoy!
Track Mattes are one of the most powerful and versatile effects in non-linear editors and Jeff Schell from DMN has just done a great one. Check it out as it is well worth the time and will give you some great new ideas for using this venerable effect.
If that title does grab your attention, I don’t know what will! Realize that I see New York newspapers that are trying for oneupmanship on each other with crazy headlines, which means you’re likely to get the same from me – sorry…
Anyway, what am I talking about? Well, when you start working at Adobe, you start to look at everything a little bit differently and consequently, you start to look and see things in a different way than the rest of society. Case in point, my eleven year old daughter said that I’m always commenting on the design ideals of the commercial/film/tv show rather than just watching them. It drives the rest of my family crazy!
So, in looking at a box of snacks, I looked at the logo and said, "Cool, I bet I can do that!" So here you go…
If I were a betting man (and I’m not, just ask Las Vegas), my guess would be that you’re only considering clicking on the link because of the surprise part of the title? Hmm? True, huh? That’s okay, because I’m right there with you. That being said, there’s a bit more inside than just a surprise (for me anyway) but you’ll have to click on through to get there…